Healthcare and What Should Have Been Done and Still Can Be Done to Fix It

I have written several times on Healthcare, or more specifically Medicare and Medicaid, so my views are pretty well known by any who read my blog. I am opposed to Universal Healthcare. I am also vehemently opposed to the universal healthcare we now have for anyone 65 years old or older which we know as Medicare.

A need for government involvement in insuring medical care for the poor was seen to be necessary in the early 1960’s and so in 1965 Congress *“enacted as Title XVIII and Title XIX of the Social Security Act, extending health coverage to almost all Americans age 65 or over (e.g., those receiving retirement benefits from Social Security or the Railroad Retirement Board), and providing health care services to low-income children deprived of parental support, their caretaker relatives, the elderly, the blind, and individuals with disabilities."

Seniors were the population group most likely to be living in poverty in 1965; "about one-half had health insurance coverage.”* And with this they made the mistake that will destroy the greatness of the United States by causing the bankruptcy of the Federal Government! Medicare and Medicaid took up 25% of the 2007 federal budget. And eventually as the population ages medical costs will skyrocket even more than their runaway double digit inflation of the past 40 years and totally overwhelm the tax payers. In fact, a large part of the deficits our government runs every year is due to the support our tax payers give ALL seniors and not just those who need it. So the next time you Grandparents visit Johnny and Sally you be sure to thank them nicely because they will be paying when they grow up for the checks you receive in the mail each month now!

Make note of the above quote from Health care Review 2005 which states that Seniors were the population most likely to be living in poverty (today it is children 18 and under); "about one half had health insurance coverage". If this was the case and one-half of seniors had medical insurance then why did Congress feel it necessary to make health care FREE to ALL seniors? It made no sense to me then, and it makes less sense to me now. Medicare should NEVER have been enacted.

Medicaid on the other hand was the program that should have adequately covered the health care needs of the All of the poor children, elderly and disabled needy. And instead of directly paying medical bills for these people and therefore getting into the insurance business, the government should have merely provided the funds for them to purchase health care insurance. Competition among insurance companies would have kept health care insurance premiums reasonable. And at the same time the insurance companies would have watched over the medical care providers and kept those costs down also. We would not have had 40 years of double digit inflationary costs of medical supplies and service. We wouldn’t have had this horrendous burden on our young workers that we now have and which will grow more burdensome in the future.

Can Congress back up now after 40 years and do what they should have done in the first place. No, they can notwithout taking some hard stands against Entitlements! Both health care systems are entrenched ENTITLEMENTS, this is especially true of Medicare. Seniors feel the government owes them a free ride. And since our children are our future their needs MUST be provided for. And there is a third and perhaps most important reason that the largess of the federal government can not be rescinded, and that is the totally unreasonable and overwhelming costs of all aspects of healthcare that was allowed to spiral out of control after the government got into the medical care payer business. At this point only the affluent can afford their own medical insurance premiums. The middle class can not. The middle class must rely on their employers to subsidize their health care costs. Employers must pass these costs onto the public. And the Beat goes on!

So what can be done to “fix” the system now. If you will read the time line offered by the article below you will see that the curbs tried have all been made towards those who are least likely to protest: Medicaid (the poor, disabled and children). We currently have the highest infant mortality rate of the industrialized world BECAUSE Medicaid has been cut back so that poor pregnant women can not get prenatal care. It is a fact that prenatal care prevents most infant mortality and other devastating problems for infants and mothers. But these groups of Medicaid recipients do not have powerful lobbies like AARP working for them so their services can be safely cut by our lily livered Congressmen who will not stand up for the needs of the people but pander to those with the biggest donation to their campaign funds.

We currently have 40 million people who have no health coverage at all. They are unable to afford the stupendously expensive insurance costs and yet are to well off to qualify for Medicaid. It stands to reason then that Congress must do what it should have done in the first place and insure medical care for ONLY the poor elderly and remove the affluent elderly from the government Medicare roles. President Bush has made some recommendations in his 2008 budget to do just that. It isn’t seen as having a chance of being enacted, but it is probably a step towards the only possible recourse that Congress has if it is to put a halt to healthcare inflation and take care of those who need our compassion. To make more cuts to Medicaid will only swell the numbers of those who have no medical coverage at all.

I have made the undeniable assertion that Medicare should be means-tested and one comment I received from a reader is the rallying cry whenever any mention of this has been made, he said, “ There is no perfect solution for Medicare. Means-testing Medicare beneficiaries punishes those that saved best for retirement and worked hardest.” I will explore this argument later in the week.

* Health care Financing Review Winter 2005 http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0795/is_2_27/ai_n16108607 A time line and review of Medicare and Medicaid from 1965 to 2005

Comments

I'm not going to bother reading this drivel again.

I'm glad that the Civil Rights leaders didn't say "Well, this failed in the 1930s, so why should we try again."

I'm glad the world didn't say in 1940, well, we fought Germany once already and that didn't solve the problem, so why try again.

I'm glad that the women's suffrage movement didn't say, "Well, we tried this after the Civil War and it didn't work, so let's not try again."

It is no longer 1960 and your refusal to look at the wonderful single-payer, national health care systems in the other OEDC countries is pitiful. They have better health, less expense, and the same wait times as us. BUT, we can't forget 1965, Lord no!

Your harping on the failures of the past do nothing to make the system of the future better.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I'm still trying to figure out...

exactly which part of Medicare is, as BFB keeps asserting, is "free." They pay premiums and copays like EVERY OTHER insurance plan, only more subsidized.

So how, exactly, is that "free"?

The only time a payment is

The only time a payment is required is if the doctor you happen to choose to use doesn't accept Medicare. In that case you will have to pay the difference between what he/she gets from Medicare and what the actual charges are. Or have a supplemental policy that will pay the difference. My lung operation cost me NOTHING. My knee replacement cost me thus far $37.

The point I am making is that the government getting in on and paying the medical fees for this large population is what started the spiraling healthcare costs which we are faced with today. Since the recipients weren’t paying they didn’t care what the cost was, and there was virtually no government oversight. There was nothing to hold back the greed. If instead the government would have helped those too poor to obtain insurance to get it then none of this would have happened.

The next point I am trying to make is that children are dying because they have no medical coverage while the medical services are keeping the elderly "vegetables" alive because the government is paying. Private insurances have a cap and then they won't pay any more.

The third point I am trying to make is if it is now taking 25% of the federal budget for Medicare and Medicaid (larger part for Medicare) then how in the world can we afford to put millions more on the system as would be the case with Universal coverage?

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Both of your examples

are under the part that covers hospital. There are limits to stay and what percentage Medicare pays up beyond the limit. And you're still neglecting the $150+ pmpm premiums.

When you go to the doctor for your physical, all the policies I've seen have a copay. When you go to the drug store, there's a copay - up until the donut hole, when you pay in full.

ISTR that you have Medicare AND TriCare. Dual-insured people don't have copays. THe companies argue about how much they each pay, but the copay is covered somewhere between them. Except for prescriptions.

As to the rest, see Leslie H's excellent comment below.

I will admit that Tricare is

I will admit that Tricare is the best. But art A of Medicare is FREE, and Part B costs $88 a month. Now if people are too lazy to call around and see what doctors take Medicare Part A and Part B they will certainly have to pay the excess fees. I am having to do this with my knee surgeon because the one who accepted Tricare was in WS and I didn't want that 30 mile drive.

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Tricare for life

is a Medicare supplement. When you turned 65 and qualified for Medicare, then your Tricare coverage turned into Tricare for Life. Do you not read your statements that you get from CMS and Tricare?

Medicare has a deductible and co-pays. Tricare picks up the difference. If your health provider accepts Medicare, all of the paperwork is filed for you. That is true whether your Medicare supplement is Tricare or private insurance. If you did not have a Medicare supplement, you would indeed have to pay deductibles and co-pays.

I do indeed read statements

I do indeed read statements and I had to purchase Medicare Part B in order to get TriCare for Life which as explained in my booklet, and as I understand it is a supplemental insurance paid for by the military for retirees and their dependents. My surgeon does accept Medicare, but does not accept TriCare (or in this case the supplemental TriCare for Life). His office files the papers but I must pay the difference between his costs and the allowable TriCare for Life payments.

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?

I thought you said you don't have to pay anything? I was pointing out that if that is the case, it is because of Tricare for Life, not because Medicare pays in full.

Besides, it makes no sense for a health provider to accept Medicare but not Tricare for Life; Medicare cuts their fees the same way Tricare does.

chartreuse dog, My knee

chartreuse dog, My knee replacement surgeon claims that Tricare is a pain to get any money out of. I don't understand it as they file the papers and I get a check which I take to the doctors office. So far I only owe them $36. Since I will be making office visits for several more months I am just not paying anything but the Tricare checks and will settle up at the end. As I said as of yesterday I owed him $36. What it will be in the end I have no idea. At this point I really don't think it will be much as the checks from Tricare have been coming to me regularly. So who knows?!?
By the way, yopu have just called me a liar again if you failed to notice. I have never been anything but civil and polite to you. BB

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I don't believe I have called you a liar.

Perhaps you are simply mistaken. Or confused. That's a matter of interpretation, I suppose. But if the shoe fits, wear it.

Leslie, In The Guide to

Leslie, In The Guide to Medicare put out by the government they claim that Part A is Free and everyone gets it, and you must pay for Part B. If your income is below a certain level then instead of paying for Part B you are eleigible to apply for Medicaid. In which case both Medicare and Medicaid combined pays for your medical care. I am sorry to have confused you.

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"Free"

Medicare Part A, hospital coverage, is free for workers who have 40 or more quarters of covered employment. It is available, for a fee, to some others. It certainly does not cover all hospital costs.

For each benefit period you pay:

A total of $992 for a hospital stay of 1-60 days.
$248 per day for days 61-90 of a hospital stay.
$496 per day for days 91-150 of a hospital stay (Lifetime Reserve Days).
All costs for each day beyond 150 days

Part B costs $93.50 per month (the $88 figure you mentioned was for last year). The deductible is $131.00 per year, and then the co-pay, after the deductible is met, is 20%. In your case (and mine) Tricare for Life picks up the deductible and co-pay, but not everyone is fortunate enough to have a Medicare supplement.

Take a look at the figures Unique posted about what Tricare pays, if you really think the government overpays for health care. Medicare payments to providers are similar.

A person has to be extremely poor to qualify for Medicaid. For the rest of us, Medicare certainly does not pay all medical costs.

This information is available at Social Security's web site.

Fixed

Healthcare will be 'fixed' only when receiving care does not depend on how much money you have or do not have.

The government 'overpaying' for health care makes me laugh.

From my last statement:

billed: 145.00 approved: 43.63
billed: 12.00 approved: 2.39
billed: 60.00 approved: 3.37

Universal needs to mean universal.
Joe Rich goes to the doctor and gets treated. Jane Poor goes to the doctor and gets treated. Period.

If we are going to get UHC.

Then, we will have to adjust how much doctors get paid by Medicare (and by extension Medicaid). Otherwise, they will continue to oppose it, especially GPs and Pediatricians, who are vastly underpaid by their present reimbursement.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Absolutely

Look at the numbers I posted.
With reimbursement rates like that - I'd oppose it, too.

Procedure X should be reimbursed the same dollar amount - regardless of what insurance you carry. Until it is - we're whistling past the graveyard.

Robert P. If you had

Robert P. If you had bothered to read my "drivel" you wouldn't be making these statements. If the mistake had not been made in 1965 there wouldn't be this problem!!! But it was made so we do NOT fix it by making the same mistake again! And that is exactly what we would do if we gave a half a billion people Medicare. There are better ways.

You keep comparing us with other countries but that is apples and oranges. Other countries do not have the high costs of medical care that we have. I explain above why this happened. Now there is no way the government or anyone short of God can go in and tell the doctors and hospitals and drug companies that instead of charging $5 for the service they can only charge $1. Then all the companies would have to reduce the salaries of their employees. Can you even imagine the riots in the streets? Would you give up 80% of your income? Then why should doctors?

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doctors arent lawyers

they also aren't mechanics or factory workers.

comparing anything with anything else is apples to oranges according to that logic.
please.

Draft Brad Miller -- NC Sen ActBlue :::Petition

"Keep the Faith"

Other countries do not have the high costs of medical care....

because they have a national health care plan.

The very short answer is that we pay more for unites of care. McKinsey estimates that it is not higher disease prevalence. Differences in health account for only about $25 billion of the variation -- a drop in the bucket. The difference really is that we pay higher doctor salaries, higher drug costs, higher operation costs, more per day in the hospital, etc, etc. In essence, we're getting a terrible deal.

Note from above that we pay much less for these things with Medicare than through private insurance.

Take drugs. The report finds that we overpay for prescription drugs by $66 billion. If you compare brand name drugs in the US and Canada, the same drug will cost you a full 60% more here. If you restrict that to the top selling drugs, you find we pay 230% more than anyone else.
...
And of course, there's administration, where we pay $98 billion more than anyone else, $84 billion of it in oh-so-efficient private sector. 64% of those costs come from insurer underwriting and advertising -- in other words, we're paying more than $50 billion dollars so insurers can convince us we need care and then figure out how to deny those of us who'll actually use it. That's some added value.

Get that? Of the $98 Billion we pay extra, $84 Billion is in the private sector, and it is designed to keep us from having insurance.

THIS is the group you want to turn our health over to? I don't think so, I think they have proven that they are untrustworthy.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

I have read your post, and all of the comments.

Some of it twice. You keep saying that Medicare is the reason for the inflation in health care costs. I disagree. I think there are many reasons for health care costs to increase, and Medicare is no more responsible than any other health insurance. Health insurance generally is one of the reasons, because people don't shop for value if the insurance is going to cover the cost. Adding a reasonable deductible and co-pay does not change that very much. If my co-pay is, say, $20 for a doctor visit, what difference does it make to me if that visit costs $100 or $500?

Another important reason is that health care is so labor-intensive. Technology is the source of increasing productivity in manufacturing, and even in farming, but it really does not increase productivity in medicine. If a farmer can use today's technology to increase the amount of corn he grows on the same acreage, he can increase his income without increasing the price of corn. But a doctor can only see so many patients in a day, no matter what kind of technology he has. So if doctors are going to increase their income, the cost of medical care has to increase.

Still another reason for increasing health care costs is the development of new treatments - new techniques, new surgical procedures, new medicines. All of that new technology costs money. And it saves lives, so then the patient needs more medical care in the future, whereas if the patient had died, there would be no more medical expense for that patient in the future.

With all of these factors (and more, I'm sure) pushing up the cost of medical care, then insurance rates will rise to cover that and still make substantial profits for insurance companies. (Then of course if the stock market declines, insurance rates have to increase even more to keep the profit levels up, but that's another story.)

The uninsured use health care in ways that cost more money, too. If you have insurance and your child is sick, you take the child to the pediatrician. If you have no health insurance and no money, then you take the child to the emergency room. If you are sick but have no health insurance, you may postpone visiting a doctor until something minor turns into something major.

The system will only be fixed, as others have pointed out, when health care is available to all. We are already paying enough money for health care in this country to provide health care to every man, woman and child in the country. Single payer universal health care is the best and most efficient way to cover everybody.

Half a billion?

The population of the U.S. is 300 million. Where do you get the other 200 million? You have said several times what a disaster it would be to give Medicare to "half a billion people." I'm curious if that number comes from the same source as the rest of your information.

Unique. Are you are

Unique. Are you are Medicare? If so do you have a supplemental policy? As I stated above my lung operation and all the tests, scans and what have you before and after cost me NOTHING. My knee replacement operation was six months ago so I am still seeing the doctor for check up but so far it all has cost me $37. What I am saying is that Joe Rich should damned well pay for his own coverage, so there will be money to pay for all the children and poor.

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Nah -

I have Tricare. The next best thing to nothing at all.

But BFB

competition does NOT work to keep down costs when you're talking about a service or product that is NOT optional, dear. The free-market competition theory cannot account for the greed of those who set the prices relative to the NEED of those who have to pay the prices.

Let me elaborate -- Purchasing health insurance by the method you're advocating above would not be an optional purchase. If the state says "We're paying for your insurance premiums," then I assume they'll require me to purchase health insurance. (If that's not an accurate assumption, I hope you'll correct me.) This is not a transaction that can be regulated by Adam Smith's imaginary "invisible hand" of competition. The state would have to do the regulating by negotiating the cost of premiums with companies allowed to sell health insurance in NC. Judging by the great deals NC hs negotiated with companies just to set up shop in NC of late, I'm just not too sure we the People would come out winners in such negotiations.

The important point I want to make here is that any requirement placed on citizens to carry heath insurance must come in the door, hand-in-hand, with authority for NC's insurance commission, or SOME gov't body, to regulate those premium prices.

For example; the state requires me to carry liability insurance on my car. In return, they make sure automobile insurance is affordable by regulating premiums in NC. If they didn't do that, but still required me to buy coverage, I can guarandamteeyou I'd be paying double, triple or quadruple what I pay for liability now, depending on my driving record. Now, i'm assuming that since all these auto-insurance companies are still in business, that means they still make a profit from providing coverage to NC citizens, even though the horrible mean old state regulates their ability to leverage my NEED and charge me as much as they possibly could -- just up to the point where they start to see a negative impact on their bottom line.

Then we have the mess of what happens to your health insurance rates when you have an accident or slip up and let yourself get infected with norovirus or something really irresponsible like that. yikes. You think hikes for health insurance are bad now? Just wait until your premium becomes based on your record of avoiding breaks, sprains, bacteria and viruses. ;)

Of course, my state and my federal gov't will allow a health insurer to drop me and refuse to cover me if I prove to cost them more money than they can make off me in premiums. That's not Adam Smith's "hand" of competition at work. It seems to me that Mr. Smith must have always assumed a benevolent end goal of the common good existed within that "hand", which it clearly does not. And, what I get for thinking it does is life's eternal boot up my working-class or middle-class arse for the rest of my life.

So you see, competion does not and will not serve to keep prices down when the product or service being marketed is not one that is optional.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Why should health insurance

Why should health insurance not be optional? For all practical purposes it certainly is now or there wouldn't be 40 million people without it. The free market would work because if people are paying for their insurance they will keep a close watch over costs. They wouldn’t be over using and abusing the system. Ask any health care provider who will be honest with you and he will tell you at least one half of the patients he sees in a day simply didn’t need to see a doctor. They would look around for the best deals for theior money. Open market competition.

But, now since you used the example of automobile insurance we will go with that. Medical care cost as a share of the country’s gross national product or inflation rate: rate of inflation 14.1% in 2001; 17.7% projected for 2012). http://www.kff.org/insurance/index.cfm This is how it has been for 40 years, double digit inflation every year.

Auto insurance rate increases: The cost of auto insurance is expected to rise by just 0.5 percent in 2006, the inflation rate was 1.5 percent in 2002, 5.9 percent in 2001 and 0.7 percent in 2000. ...
www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2006/05/03/67867.htm -

There is no comparison between the two. And the reason is that the government doesn’t pay for the insurance, you do! so you shop around for the best coverage at the best price and don’t run you car in for a paint job with every little scratch. YOU watch the cost. And you forcer the insurance companies to compete for your business.

This is what would have happened if the government had done what I highlighted in red above.

You were also concerned about those whose insurance was dropped. This is where the government could have come in and required the insurance companies to carry people as long as they wished to be covered by that company. And then also regulated that insurance costs could go up only X% a year. As for those who couldn’t get insurance they would fall under the Medicaid plan for the needy.

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There is no comparison between the two.

That's right. There is no comparison . . . so why persist in comparing them?

Your faith in the free markets is really quite astounding. Maybe next up would be the elimination of fire departments. They are, after all, just another form of insurance. We pay them to mitigate our risks associated with fire. Why not let the free market take up that job? Why not have private fire protection according to what you can afford? If you don't make enough money, tough tomatoes. You don't get your fires put out.

Anglico I was responding to

Anglico I was responding to LeslieH who brought up automobile insurance as a comparison to whatever. My comment that there is no comparison because of the astronomical inflation rates of medical insurance in comparison with auto insurance. And therefore they can not be compared. Tho it would be difficult to find anything to compare with the double digit inflation rate of medical services. Well, perhaps the cost of education. Which is also heavily subsidized by the government so the free market and competing for students by keeping costs reasonable isn’t necessary!

The sad fact is that not one of you have bothered toREAD what I have written above. You have read a few key words and immediately gone off on a tangent. A direction of your own that I have merely been trying to follow as you all have refused to follow my line of reason. It is fine to disagree but Land Sakes Alive, at the very least you should have taken the time to know what you are disagreeing with.

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this just proves that your selling right-wing talking points.

Your opinions are just that, yours. I would dare to say that most people do NOT comparison shop for their autos, or Detroit would have gone out of business a decade ago. Their cars are ranked lower every year for quality and they cost more, so why would anyone buy them? Also, you buy a car every 5 years, but you need health care on the spur of the moment every day. So, what do you suggest, that everyone become a medical expert and keep the numbers of every physician in the state at their fingertips?

No, the free market doesn't work for health care because it isn't a commodity you can trade, it is a basic human right. We've seen this before, when education was private the poor were shut out of education. It was only through the hard work of progressives that fought conservatives like yourself that wanted to keep the poor, women, and minorities out of school that we were able to make education and right and not a privilege. And, we'll do it again, against you same conservatives that want to create an unequal system where only those with financial resources get the best health care. You may want to leave behind the poor and the working class by switching to private plans, but we won't let you, just like we didn't let you with education.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

argh

But see ... I'm not sure why 2 + 2 isn't adding up to 4 here. I was never really good at arithmetic, but it looks a lot like 4 to me.

Health insurance premiums are not regulated. We see double digit inflation in that sector.

Auto-insurance premiums are regulated. We see single digit inflation, (more in line with cost-of-living inflation), in that industry.

If the state gives me money to buy health insurance, as you've suggested it should, wouldn't it be irresponsible for the state to not then also regulate the cost of those premiums and the minimal coverage I would get for my money?

Another issue -- speaking from personal experience, providing health insurance is not equivalent to providing health care.

How much will the state be willing to shell out for me and mine to go buy health insurance? Would a $30 per month, high deductible policy make it easier for the head of household with a $25k/yr income to take jr to the doctor for an ear infection? Not likely. S/he can't afford office visit + medication bill (~$150) with a $1000 deductible insurance policy in hand any more than s/he can afford that $150 cost without insurance.

So who really benefits if we do nothing to re-tool the healthcare system as it is, but we, the state, simply started paying for working class people's health insurance premiums? Its a given that we would protect providers from heavy losses due to emergency care and hospitalizations the working-class patient can't afford. We may protect some working-class and middle-class patients from bankruptcy as well, and that does benefit them as well as their other creditors. But what will most working-class citizens really get for this expenditure by the state? A more welcoming attitude at the emergency room? Well, that is something, but it's not really the goal I thought we were shooting for when people started talking about providing healthcare for the 47 million Americans without health insurance.

I'll repeat myself: Providing health insurance, though a noble goal, is not equivalent to providing health care.

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Basically -

Yeah.

"Would a $30 per month, high deductible policy make it easier for the head of household with a $25k/yr income to take jr to the doctor for an ear infection? Not likely. S/he can't afford office visit + medication bill (~$150) with a $1000 deductible insurance policy in hand any more than s/he can afford that $150 cost without insurance.

Which is why when doctor's offices tell me they'll "file" my insurance for me I say, 'Lady, if I could afford to pay you and wait to be reimbursed I'd just pay you and be done.'

How about these apples?

If the state were to create a pool of all residents, they would have the power of millions of people behind them to negotiate affordable premiums, maybe on a sliding scale, would have the power to negotiate hospital and lab test costs, the power to negotiate drug costs. The hospitals tell us their services are so expensive because of the cost of all the services to uninsured they are forced to treat. The insurance companies say their premiums are so high because hospital costs are out of control. The drug companies say someone has to pay for their R&D, though they seem to be able to sell their brand name drugs in other countries for a fraction of the cost we pay for the same. They still make a very hefty profit.

If the poor or near poor were able to go the a doctor's office for Johnny's sore throat instead of being forced to go to the emergency room, each sore throat treated would in fact save hundreds of dollars. Multiply these emergency room visits thus turned into office visits by a few million, and we would have a savings of tens of millions of dollars. If drug costs were negotiated, the way the Veterans' Administration negotiates them, the cost of those drugs would also be affordable. If all aspects of health care were thus affordable to all, then it would truly be a matter of choice for those who don't sign up, and they would be charged the full cost of the services they choose to use.

If there were a pool of multiple millions participants, and the costs were negotiated, the premiums paid would be enough to cover whatever cost the claims would be. Not everyone gets sick at all times, those costs would be spread out enough so that there could be coverage for all as needed.

(We could use the profit this system would generate to lower state taxes? To finance education better? Sorry, got carried away there.)

Those who want extra care and can afford to get it, would be free to seek it privately, as they now do in countries where there currently is universal coverage.

Administering this would be another story.....

longtimedem, You are

longtimedem, You are talking a solution now! This is good!! In fact it is great! To offer a solution rather than just yell that we MUST have something that the federal government (that's us by the way) just doesn't have the money to provide. And, you know this would work I believe. The trick is to get the government or state governments to do it. In this case the companies have all these lobbyist who throw all this money around and our politicians talk the talk but don't walk the walk.

The Dems. correction of the Senior Drug Plan is a fine example. They made it the law that the Sec. of Health... MUST negotiate with the drug companies once each year. THEN in the very next paragraph of the bill they made it clear that he had NO AUTHORITY. So they all meet once a year for a friendly breakfast and go their way until the next year. What has changed? What has been done to lower the cost of drugs?

I was a Dem most of my life than I became an Independent and vote the man and not the party. BB

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Health care

Leslie: Medical Insurance and Medical care are very much related as one pays for the other.

Ass for it not adding up, you have missed the biggest point I tried to make and that is that in 1965 when the government gave universal care to ALL elderly regardless of need they put in place this whole horrific mess we are now in. If they had just expanded Medicaid to cover the poor (both unemployed, unemployable and low income) to obtain medical insurance if they were able and to have m yes, complete coverage if they could not afford it then the spiraling double digit inflation for medical care would not have happened. It didn’t for homes, or automobiles or food or clothing so why did it for medical care and insurance? Only one factor and that was government involvement.

Now as for the difference in yes regulated because it is required by the government auto insurance. If the government would have required medical insurance and then told the insurance industry what they could charge it would have been fine. Because then the insurance industry would have regulated the care givers. But the government did do any regulating with the medical insurance providers so they when hog wild.

As for the rest of your questions I think I cover these in my next post. I got lambasted on another site and decided you all deserved to read the battle over there too. And, it does more clarification I believe. I speak of myself and my family and how we were independent and are now dependent because of the high costs making it impossible for lower middle class people to support themselves even with two workers in the family. Sad. And it could have all been avoided. It still can be fixed if we stop paying for those who can still afford their own. Can you imagine your tax dollars going to say President Clinton in the form of Social Security and Medicare? Ridiculous isn’t it? But he and Hillary will become eligible soon and believe me they will take it tho it isn’t even a speck of what they are worth. In greed millions of Americans are taking these so called entitlements (hate that word!) who have no need for them and can pay their own way but why not take them if someone gives you something free you are a damned fool not to take it. Well get these people off the dole and we would have the funds to take care of the poor and needy and help supplement those like you and yours and me and mine so we can help ourselves.

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Leslie's points

speak to elasticity of demand, if you want it in "economics" jargon. The demand for health care is relatively inelastic, so suppliers can increase the price quite a lot with only a small effect on demand. The demand for Coca-Cola, on the other hand, is relatively elastic. If the price goes up, I can switch to Pepsi, 7-Up, OJ, or water. Or coffee.

Put some $$$ with your facts

Break this down into dollars and cents, see where it leads. For a family of four, average earnings of say $42,000 annually..., let's see what the figures add up to. Too young for Medicare, income much too high for Medicaid. One family member is a diabetic and has the related illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol. A pretty common scenario I think.

Health Insurance premium, $10,000 annually. Prescription drugs, $6,000 annually. Doctor's visits including needed specialists (co-pay only), about $1,000 per year. An MRI? A CAT scan? Cash out of pocket because the deductible on that $10,000 annual premium policy is too high to cover out-patient tests and lab work. Surgery? Forget it, there is not enough left after the expenses necessary for simple survival to pay the deductible and the co-pay.

After non-catastrophic medical expenses this family faces the challenge of meeting all their non-medical needs with $25,000 a year, less federal, state, and local taxes.

So tell me, even in the Utopian world of Medicare helping only the poor, where would the wealthy who could ultimately pay their way come from? Certainly not from the savings they were able to put away during their working years. In this world, everyone will need Medicare when they reach the magic age of 65.

We need a UHCP that insures a large pool people where prescription costs, hospital costs, lab costs, and all the rest are negotiated in a way that everyone is covered and which allows everyone a basic standard of living before and after they reach 65.

Sorry, Brenda Faye, but

. . . Medicare didn't cause the bankruptcy of the United States in 1965. The bankruptcy of the United States was agreed upon when FDR went to Pottsdam, and sealed when he took all our gold away in 1933. As for the evils of socialized medicine, I think you should listen more to what your critics have said in these comments. Be well and happy!

earth water, How true, how

earth water, How true, how true about the machinations of the Great Franklin D. Roosevelt. He started the United States down this long steep slope. And Lyndon Baines Johnson just pushed it along a bit. Someday I hope history corrects the wrong impression our nation seems to have of this man who instead of being one of our greatest presidents was in fact one of the worst.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME. THANK YOU FOR VISITING. BRENDA BOWERS

Troll.

Any poster who blames the decline of America on FDR and LBJ is a damn Republican troll, and you can take your right-wing machinations back to your own site.

Where are the candidates?

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

Then Make Sure -

you give back your Social Security checks and stop using Medicare since you don't believe they should exist.

I will gladly the moment

I will gladly the moment the government makes it a law that those who can afford their own health care insurance and have no need for Social Security to make ends meet do so and not be a burden on the backs of the young. In the meantime we are putting ours in a trust for our grandchildren because they are the ones who will be stuck paying all these debts we are piling up now. Brenda Bowers

YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOME. THANK YOU FOR VISITING. BRENDA BOWERS

Ok, that does it.

Who wants my recipe for banana nut bread?